Ashley Novoa
Founder and Executive Director
The Chicago Period Project

Read Ashley’s bio

How has she positively impacted women and/or girls in Chicago?

CPP has provided over 400,000 period supplies to people around the Chicagoloand area. Recently, they’ve partnered with Love Fridge to stock spaces around Chicago with supplies for menstruating people.

What lessons can girls and/or other women learn from her?

Ashley started with a small idea- People without home need period support- and expanded this into a mission that has helped thousands. It’s a testament to the power of a small idea!

 

Ashli Nelson
Director of Government Affairs and National Diversity Outreach
McDonald’s Corporation

Read Ashli’s bio

How has she positively impacted women and/or girls in Chicago?

Ashli supports Black female business owners by connecting them with resources and individuals within her vast network to help their businesses scale and grow. Ashli connects female college students looking for internships and women (including recent grads) who are looking jobs that will enhance their career. She also serves as a mentor and provides guidance to prospective college students through a nonprofit organization called Target Hope and the Chicago Area Fisk University Alumni Association.

What lessons can girls and/or other women learn from her?

As a first-generation college student, Ashli had to navigate the college admissions process on her own and find and secure scholarships, work-study placements, and loans on her own. Ashli had to learn the professionalism and skills she needed to succeed in the workforce on her own. Girls and women can learn resilience and tenacity from her. No matter what obstacles she has faced personally or professionally, she always works tireless to overcome them.

 

Britney Robbins
Founder
The Grey Matter Experience

Read Britney’s bio

How has she positively impacted women and/or girls in Chicago?

She advocates for and mentors young women of color to pursue their dreams and realize their potential. She is an example and mentor.

What lessons can girls and/or other women learn from her?

Tenacity. Self Advocacy. You are fully capable of pursuing whatever dream has been laid on your heart to accomplish it. Dream It. Build A Plan. Execute. Give back what you have learned.

 

Diamond Greer Jones (she/hers)
Founder and Coach
Lapelie Good

 

How has she positively impacted women and/or girls in Chicago?

Diamond is the Co-Founder of Let’s Vibe – an experience design firm focused on closing the global leadership and equity gap through human-centered design. Growth is actualized through innovative programming, collaborative community and client services. While Let’s VibeHQ has since paused it’s services, Diamond continues to lend her expertise to young girls in Chicago. She recently joined Girls Inc. of Chicago’s Influential Women series to provide girls with guidance on fueling their purpose, and pivoting to find joy in their decision-making.

What lessons can girls and/or other women learn from her?

Diamond has been a fearless woman of the future, for as long as I’ve known her. Since walking into my office as a High School Junior, she has leveraged opportunities, sought wisdom from her mentors and peers, and provided encouragement to other young women and girls. Girls can learn from her calm, motivating demeanor and ability to sort through significant moments to find purpose. She leans into being unapologetic and inspiring future generations of women leaders.

 

Dominique Bryant

Project Specialist
Health Care Services Corp (HCSC)

Founder
Dream Academy Foundation

Read Dominique’s bio

How has she positively impacted women and/or girls in Chicago?

Although the Dream Academy Foundation does not specifically target girl and women, her efforts to help the community have made a huge impact on them indirectly. Her foundation has hosted both a wellness kit event, where over 500 essential workers (including nurses and teachers) received PPE and other wellness supplies. She also hosts toy drives for children in her native Bellwood neighborhood where 75 children received gifts during the holiday season. Finally, her mentoring services have impacted thousands of young adults (both boys and girls) who have become leaders and influencers in their own right.

What lessons can girls and/or other women learn from her?

Dominique has proven to be a strong and driven woman who is passionate about helping those in need. While maintaining a full time job, she started her own organization that has become somewhat of a staple in the Westside community and continues to thrive. Outside of Dream Academy Foundation, she serves as a board member for Four Point Play, an organization that uses sports to boost mind, body and spirit, and volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, the Carlton Center and the FABB Girl Foundation, among others. I believe she can be an inspiration to anyone who wants to give back. Giving back is more than volunteering for a few hours here and there. If you really love to see your community thrive, giving back will truly become a lifestyle and serious commitment. She is definitely a woman who leads by example.

Kenyatta Beverly
Labor and Employment Counsel
The Davey Tree Expert Company

Read Kenyatta’s bio

How has she positively impacted women and/or girls in Chicago?

Kenyatta promotes and encourages black women in law. She is a committed community volunteer and serves as a great role model for girls across Chicago.

What lessons can girls and/or other women learn from her?

Girls can learn what it takes to become a lawyer, the challenges that women face at law firms, and how to carry themselves.

 

Leslie Hannah
Assistant Principal
Clay Elementary School

Read Leslie’s bio

How has she positively impacted women and/or girls in Chicago?

Leslie continues to be an inspiration for young girls, in particular, young black girls, and continues to fight for equity. She is an inspiration and role model and continues to promote hard work and integrity as a means to success.

What lessons can girls and/or other women learn from her?

Leslie Hannah never wavers. She is professional, caring, and has a tremendous work ethic. She is loyal and fights for equity, for ALL students. She is sensitive, yet holds you accountable, and she carries herself as a strong, smart, and bold woman, making her the perfect role model for our girls.

 

 

Pamela Robinson
40+ Double Dutch Club

Read Pamela’s bio

How has she positively impacted women and/or girls in Chicago?

While Pamela originally started the 40 Double Dutch Club as an outlet for women 40 and above to take a break from “adulting” and to focus on themselves, this Sisterhood has evolved into a much more impactful movement. In addition to jumping Double Dutch, the women now also have an opportunity to lead and participate in various events and activities that focus on giving back to the Chicagoland community. For example, this year, Pamela and the 40 Double Club have committed to donating not only essential supplies but also giving their time to individuals who are living on the streets or in shelters. Pamela also strongly encourages the women to support local Chicagoland Black Owned Businesses and is intentional about posting pictures and videos on social media to promote the importance of supporting Black-Owned restaurants, vendors and organizations.

What lessons can girls and/or other women learn from her?

Pamela believes that by reaching back to younger women and girls, the women of the 40 Double Dutch Club demonstrate that physical fitness can be fun regardless of age, size or shape. The 40 Double Dutch Club also shows women everywhere the importance of prioritizing physical fitness, mental wellness and spiritual growth. The most important step is the first step, just start somewhere, even if it’s just 1 hour per week -every women deserves at least that much.

 

Rashada Whitehead
Head of Colleague Experience, People & Community
Grant Thornton

Read Rashada’s bio

How has she positively impacted women and/or girls in Chicago?

She has actively worked in the diversity and inclusion space to challenge organizations to evaluate if they are meeting their goals and commitments to creating a diverse workforce.

What lessons can girls and/or other women learn from her?

She is a shining example of a strong, smart and bold professional woman.

 

 

Valerie Sherman
Director of Planned Giving
Saint Mary’s College

Read Valerie’s bio

How has she positively impacted women and/or girls in Chicago?

I only listed a few of her many services to the Chicago community. Although I have known her for several years, and serve with her on the Board of the Chicago Council on Planned Giving, I only started knowing about her volunteer activities when she was revealed to be the Yarn Bomber who has been yarn bombing the city throughout the pandemic. She has helped incarcerated women start businesses upon release, working pro bono she has helped women first responders with creating their wills; she is a part of the Chicago Foundation for Women South Side Giving Circle, which assists black women and girls on the south and west sides of Chicago.

What lessons can girls and/or other women learn from her?

Valerie Sherman exemplifies being the change you wish to see in the world. Both through her profession and through her volunteer work, she has a positive effect on everything around her. She constantly endeavors to lift other women up and make sure their voices are heard.

 

 

And our first ever She Shines Teen Leadership Award Winner

Sydney R. Grandby
Student, Class of 2022

Read Sydney’s bio

How has she positively impacted women and/or girls in Chicago?

Having relocated from the Chicago area, Sydney has continued to have an impact in the community. Sydney’s website and the letter writing campaign has proved to be far-reaching. She has received feedback from those in the area thanking her for her support and kindness during such a stressful time. It has been noted that her compassion to help and think of others is beyond noteworthy.

What lessons can girls and/or other women learn from her?

Sydney’s efforts is a lesson plan for other young ladies to know and understand that small works/acts of kindness are far-reaching. Sydney’s acts have resulted in response of “Wow, very few take the time to send hand written notes…” “Her notes came a time when I was feeling lonely and detached from kindness.” The website provided comfort in hitting that button”